Should I Take Vitamins Before Or After Workout? 4 Reasons

Published on October 27th, 2022

Last updated on March 7th, 2023

liquid vitamins jars

An adequate intake of vitamins is essential for everyone, not only athletes. However, with intense physical activity, there is an additional need for these substances. Often in sports portals, “vitamins” mean almost any supplements. For example, micronutrients such as copper, cobalt, iron, zinc, and others may be mistakenly included here. To avoid confusion, let’s understand what vitamins are and when it is better to take vitamins – before or after workout.

All reactions in our body occur under the action of “gas pedals” – enzymes. These are protein molecules, without which chemical processes would take millions and billions of times longer. Enzyme participation is required in all reactions, including those responsible for the effectiveness of exercise:

  • building muscle mass;
  • reducing body fat;
  • adequate recovery after exercise.

What do vitamins have to do with it? Not only enzymes are needed for the rapid progression of chemical processes, but also “assisting molecules.” Vitamins belong to this group. They attach to enzymes and change their structure. As a result, more reactions occur, and the body “works” better, including while doing sports.

How to take vitamins after or before a workout? Learn how to improve your health and your performance in the gym by taking sports nutrition.

When To Take Vitamins: Before Or After A Workout?

liquid drops

To get the maximum benefit from vitamins and supplements, their intake should be based not only on the correct time of day but also on the training time. There are different rules for each vitamin that must be considered. So, it can make a big difference, as some vitamins cannot be combined, and it will only do harm. It is also important not to exceed the recommended dose indicated on the package unless a nutritionist or doctor is advised.

Taking Vitamins Before Workout

The need for ascorbic acid in active athletes is 1.5-2 times higher than in average adults and comes to 150-200 mg per day. Therefore, taking such vitamins as ascorbic acid before a workout protects muscles from decay. Ascorbic acid is an effective antioxidant. If we are talking about the recovery period after an illness, the effective daily doses can go up to 1 gram or even 3 grams. Unlike many vitamins and minerals, ascorbic acid is absorbed quite well. The best choice would be ascorbic acid in liquid form, as it penetrates and affects the organism more quickly.

Vitamin C: To Inhibit The Production Of Cortisol

It is better to take before training because it inhibits the production of cortisol, a tissue-destroying hormone. With sufficient amounts of this vitamin, cells do not oxidize as quickly and severely. It allows the athlete to train longer and more effectively.

So, when you consume 1 gram through the stomach, 75% of vitamin C enters the blood. But as the dosage increases, the absorption gets much worse! So out of 5 grams of ascorbic acid taken will be absorbed only 20%. That is why taking large doses of vitamin C becomes meaningless and harmful to health.

Taking Vitamins After Workout

The next group of vitamins is recommended to be taken after a workout, as are more vitamins on the market. Why? Most often, such supplements are responsible for rapid muscle recovery, energy, and replenishment of all the resources expended by the body. They also have other functions that you can read about below.

Vitamin E: Preserving The Integrity Of Cell Membranes

Vitamin E, which belongs to the fat-soluble vitamins and performs the most important functions in the human body, should be taken after a workout. It maintains the integrity of cell membranes, the most critical factor of recovery after physical activity. Vitamin E is supported by vitamin C and neutralizes radicals in the body – part of a strong immune system. It will act as an additional post-workout aid for ascorbic acid.

Vitamin B: Reduction Of Muscle Pain

Several vitamins can help with muscle recovery, including vitamin B. It is water soluble and plays an essential role in reducing muscle pain. Vitamin B facilitates recovery after a workout because of its involvement in tissue healing and reducing oxidative stress. The B vitamins have different properties, but vitamin B6 increases our body’s ability to synthesize nutrients and amino acids. It can be helpful when our bodies need to break down compounds such as protein and other nutrients.

Taking vitamin B9 (folic acid, folacin, etc.) is also necessary. You should include it in your diet because it synthesizes proteins (muscle, skin, internal organs, etc.)

Vitamin A: Quality Recovery

Sports medicine states that athletes need high doses of vitamins, including retinol. This is due to the acceleration of metabolism during physical activity. Without a clearly defined vitamin therapy, it isn’t easy to achieve results in bodybuilding and powerlifting, especially for age athletes. For example, a lack of vitamin A prevents overcoming the muscle plateau during weight gain and learning, even with proper training schemes and complete nutrition. And here’s what athletes need to take these vitamins after a workout:

  • to facilitate the creation of new skeletal muscle cells;
  • to ensure normal synthesis of steroid hormones;
  • to speed up the formation of glycogen, which is important for maintaining physical fitness and high-intensity training;
  • to prolong the life of red blood cells, the amount of which determines the oxygen saturation of tissues and, ultimately, the performance of general endurance.

When Does The Need For Vitamins During Exercise Increase?


Regardless of your athletic goals, the number of vitamins in your diet should be balanced and adequate.

  • Antioxidants like vitamins C and E are needed to combat oxidative stress;
  • B vitamins are needed to create energy for physical activity;
  • All other vitamins are also crucial for health, well-being, physical strength, and the repair of damaged tissues.

Generally, taking vitamins and mineral complexes is advisable all year round after a workout, including the rest from training. You should not allow a lack of vitamins. In acute cases, it can manifest in:

  • cracks in the corners of the mouth;
  • red rashes on the face;
  • hair loss;
  • numbness of the limbs;
  • muscle cramps (due to electrolyte imbalance);
  • white and red spots on the hands, thighs, and cheeks.

Ensure your vitamin taking is balanced and regular before and after a workout. Experienced athletes require even more micronutrients to make steady progress in training. Athletes who regularly work out at the gym should first build an optimal vitamin intake plan. This is the foundation of everything. And only after that you should start to monitor your diet and protein and carbohydrate intake.

Bottom Line

Nutrition of the body with additional vitamin complexes is a prerequisite for professional sports. When playing sports, it is essential to remember that uncontrolled intake of vitamin complexes can harm the body. So the answer to the question: “Should I take vitamins before or after a workout?” depends on the type of vitamins and their compatibility.

Therefore, you should always consult a specialist before taking any vitamins or supplements. But, nevertheless, athletes should take special sports supplements and vitamin complexes, preferably in the most accessible form for the body – liquid.


Why do athletes need vitamins?

Athletes are exposed to high physical and mental stress. And any high-intensity workload requires a lot of energy, which the body must obtain from nutrients. For those who are seriously engaged in sports, haemoglobin, iron, and vitamins B, D, E, and K are important.

What is most important when taking vitamins before or after a workout?

The system of taking is more critical than the form. People often take vitamins irregularly or not at all, which is much worse than taking them the wrong way. Incorrect intake of vitamins is unlikely to cause radical damage to health, except that allergic reactions may occur.

What supplements should women look for when training?

The biggest problem for women is iron deficiency. So if a woman wants to take care of her health, she should check her iron level first. This is the main trace element.

What supplements should men look for when training?

For men, however, the primary vitamin is omega 3. The standard omega index significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Is taking vitamins before exercise good?

Yes, as a rule, doctors recommend doing precisely that. It is better to take vitamins before training if you are preparing for a competition or doing heavy physical work during sports.

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